Iron is an essential mineral and your body requires just the right amount at all times. There is a common misconception that iron is only obtained by eating meat and that iron deficiency is more prevalent amongst vegans and vegetarians, but that’s not true. Natural iron supplements and foods provide an array of health benefits and in some cases may even help prevent iron toxicity. If you are looking to shore up your iron levels, then consider the benefits of plant-based iron.
There are two primary sources of dietary iron—animals and plants. The technical terms for these are heme iron and nonheme iron, respectively. There has been a lot of investigation into the absorption differences between these two types of iron. Although animal, or heme, iron is absorbed at a higher rate, it can actually overwhelm your body and even lead to iron toxicity—which is a serious condition. In contrast, the body absorbs plant, or nonheme, iron at a slower rate and that is much better for your health. Slow, regulated absorption helps keep your body’s iron levels optimal and in balance.
Fewer Health Risks
Low iron levels can lead to fatigue, chills, brain fog, or worse: iron deficiency anemia. Too much can lead to vomiting, intense abdominal pain, and even organ failure. Plant-based iron is absorbed more slowly and that helps maintain normal iron balance, which translates to fewer health risks and concerns. In contrast, heme iron from animal sources (blood and tissue) has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer.[4, 5, 6] One study reported that increasing your heme iron intake by just one milligram per day could increase your risk of heart disease by 27 percent.
Cofactors and Conutrients
You can consume all the iron you want, plant-based or not, but if your body won’t absorb it, then it does you no good. The complex set of mechanisms that store, monitor, absorb, and utilize iron require the alignment of many different processes. Vitamin C, for example, supports your body’s ability to absorb iron. Likewise, gut health significantly influences iron uptake. By obtaining your iron from dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, you will also get the added benefit of vitamins, trace minerals, prebiotics, and antioxidants that support your overall health. Without a healthy and constant mix of fruit and vegetables, you might miss out on these vital nutrients.
There are many other reasons you may prefer a plant-based diet or lifestyle that extend beyond health, such as environmental concerns. A diet that includes meat requires more energy, land, and water resources to support. Sticking with plant-based food for iron and other nutrients will help keep your environmental impact to a minimum.
Best Sources of Plant-Based Iron
There are several options when it comes to plant-based sources of iron. Spinach, kidney beans, and pumpkin seeds are just a few that are good sources of iron and other vital micronutrients. However, when it comes to iron supplements, there are fewer plant-based choices. Global Healing Center is trying to change that. We always source our products with high-quality, vegan ingredients, and our iron supplement is no different. Iron Fuzion™ provides an ideal serving of plant-based iron from organic curry tree leaves along with a balanced blend of organic thyme and echinacea. If an iron supplement is right for you, try it today and experience the benefits of plant-based iron.
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